Vegetarian clay bowl ‘chicken’

Vegetarian clay bowl ‘chicken’

Bo bo fu zhu

By
From
Every Grain of Rice
Photographer
Chris Terry

The Chinese are masters at devising vegetarian versions of meat, fish and poultry dishes that fool not only the eye, but also the palate. In Buddhist temple restaurants, tofu, sweet potato and mushrooms may be cunningly fashioned into convincing replicas of crab meat and prawns, abalone and shark’s fin, not to mention more humble foods such as meatballs and fish. To imitate cold chicken, the chefs often roll up sheets of fresh ‘tofu leather’ (dou fu pi), bind them tightly in muslin and steam them into a semblance of flesh.

This simpler version of ‘chicken’ uses only the dried rolls of tofu ‘bamboo’ (fu zhu), that can be found in most Chinese groceries: all you need do is soak them in hot water for an hour or so before use. For a more intense flavour, begin by simmering the tofu using the method for tofu ‘bamboo’ with spring onion-flavoured oil.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
5 sticks dried tofu ‘bamboo’, (about 75g)
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds
40g Roasted and fried peanuts
3 tablespoons spring onion greens, finely sliced
small handful fresh coriander, chopped

For the sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
2 teaspoons sesame paste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground roasted sichuan pepper, to taste
4-5 tablespoons chilli oil, with its sediment
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
salt, to taste
Tofu ‘bamboo’ with spring onion-flavoured oil

Method

  1. Soak the ‘bamboos’ in hot water from the kettle for about an hour, until they are supple. Shake and squeeze the rolls dry. Holding the knife at an angle, cut them diagonally into bite-sized pieces, discarding any sections that remain hard. Place the pieces in a serving bowl.
  2. Toast the sesame seeds gently in a dry wok or frying pan for a few minutes, until they are fragrant and starting to turn golden, then remove to a dish. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Pour the sauce over the tofu ‘bamboo’, then scatter over the peanuts, sesame seeds, spring onions and coriander. Mix everything together before eating.
Tags:
Chinese
Sichuanese
Asian
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